METM18 keynote 

In praise of editors (the translator’s view)

Daniel Hahn

Translators still complain rather a lot about how under-valued their work is, how under-appreciated, and under-recognised. But they’re positively celebrities compared to their editor colleagues who – like them – do work that can make or break a book, but whose names are almost never to be found in any public credits. How well, then, do translators actually understand what is entailed in the editor’s role, and how should they learn to value and celebrate that contribution, just as they expect people to value and celebrate theirs? How do translators benefit from good editorial work, and where do their roles overlap – or, sometimes, pull in quite different directions? Daniel Hahn recently founded a debut translation prize that recognises the winning book’s editor alongside its translator, and in this talk he gives a (profoundly grateful) translator’s-eye view of the editorial function, and what kind of editing a translation – and a translator – most need.

About the presenter 

Daniel Hahn is an award-winning writer, editor and translator of Portuguese, Spanish and French. His translation of The Book of Chameleons by José Eduardo Agualusa won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2007. Another work from this successful partnership, A General Theory of Oblivion, won the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award; Daniel donated half of his winnings from this award to help establish a new prize for a debut literary translation, the TA First Translation Prize. A champion of children’s literature, Daniel collaborated on a special "translated books" edition of Riveting Reads, which is being sent to every secondary school in England. He is also one of the translation profession’s most visible advocates in the UK, helping to demystify the translation process through translation slams and radio talks, among other initiatives.